Pope Francis created 21 new cardinals at a ritual-filled ceremony Saturday, including key figures at the Vatican and in the field who help cement his legacy and enact his reforms as he enters a crucial new phase in running the Catholic Church.
On a bright sunny day filled with cheers from St. Peter’s Square, Francis further expanded his influence on the College of Cardinals who will one day elect his successor.
During his instructions to the new cardinals at the start of the service, Francis referred to musicians as he said their variety and geographic diversity would serve the church like musicians in an orchestra, where sometimes they plan ensemble, while sometime solo.
“Diversity is necessary; it is indispensable. However, each sound must contribute to the common design,” stated Francis. He added, “This is why mutual listening is essential: each musician must listen to the others.”
Among the new cardinals were Chicago-born missionary now responsible for vetting bishop candidates around the globe, and the controversial new head of the Vatican’s doctrine office, Victor Manuel Fernandez.
The ceremony comes ahead of the big meeting planned for Francis with bishops, wherein they are expected to discuss the church’s future while the pressing issues will be women’s role in church, LGBTQ+ Catholics, and priestly celibacy.